The U.S. Senate has approved a bill granting funds to aid the city of Flint, Michigan where the devastating water crisis continues to pose a threat to its residents.
President Obama signed the $170 million bill into law Saturday morning to help the city replace pipes which are still poisoning Flint residents. Flint’s lead poisoning crisis began last year when a manager appointed by Governor Rick Snyder made the corrosive Flint River the primary water source for residents.
Today, the water in Flint still tests at harmful levels and is unsafe to drink. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tens of thousands of children have faced lead poisoning and are at risk for severe health problems.
The Flint Water crisis is a clear example of race and income driven environmental injustice. This bill comes on the heels of immense social and political pressure faced by both Michigan's local government and the federal government, to acknowledge and correct the systematic poisoning of Flint residents.
Although this bill will benefit residents of Flint, many environmentalists are concerned that this bill contains a "poison pill." The legislation includes rolling back environmental protections in California's Bay-Delta estuary.
Scott Slesinger, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council said in a statement, “We should not have to trade delinquent congressional action in Michigan for the erosion of endangered species protection and a threat to fishing jobs in California.”
The bill has been called "dangerous" and a "mistake" by California Senator Barbara Boxer.